23 Jun, 2011

ICANN plans major changes to domain names

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the global internet body responsible for the creation of new website domain suffixes, has decided to allow a major change to domain names from 2012.

Currently there are only 22 gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains) e.g. .com, .org, .gov, but from next year applicants will be allowed to apply for a domain suffix of almost any word in any language, e.g. .nhl, .apple, .pepsi, etc.

Initially it will be limited to a few hundred new gTLDs but add that to the current 22 and approximately 250 country level domain suffixes like .ca (Canada), .tv (Tuvalu) or .us (United States), and it's a big change to the face of the internet. Currently available suffixes can be viewed in the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority database.

If you are thinking of applying for a brand oriented suffix then you will need to prove that you have a legitimate claim to that word. Applications start on January 12, 2012, however the application process will be extremely rigorous with each application being examined by ICANN chosen experts, plus trademark holders will of course get first pop at a particular word.

Then of course there will be the legal actions raised by parties who don't get what they want, so the process will be lengthy, involved and expensive.

Cyber squatters already planning on registering major companies names as suffixes will find it almost impossible to achieve this, unlike the major domain name squatting grabs of the 1990's.

Oh and I guess that the $185,000 USD price tag will also discourage a few people.